Dangerous Profession 
The following is adapted from a speech by Jesús Barraza to Mexican journalists at a November 8 workshop on press freedom hosted by CPJ in Mexico City. Barraza took over as editor of La Prensa, a daily newspaper in San Luis Río Colorado, after editor and publisher Benjamín Flores González was murdered in July:       

During the last days of his life, Benjamín Flores González worried about rumors that had begun to circulate in June. It was around that time that he told us that an attack was being organized against La Prensa. "What are they capable of doing?" we asked ourselves.

Benjamín was reserved at times about his concerns and, so as not to alarm those of us who worked on the paper, he never mentioned that he carried in his shirt pocket a judicial restraining order forbidding his arrest.

On July 15, nine bullets ended his life. The restraining order in his pocket was useless. We never thought that the system would engender such brutal methods.

Sometimes in a timid manner, and often without taking into consideration libel law or supposed journalistic ethics, some of us journalists have dared to print accusations that we could not completely prove but were supported by interviews with people who were afraid to show their face, or were in difficult circumstances because of a judicial system that is often complicit with those who violate the law.

Our editor, Benjamín Flores, was often obligated to denounce acts of corruption or drug trafficking without having all the details. He was often ironic. After all, his column was called "Unconfirmed."

In one of his columns, Benjamín, the founder of La Prensa, explained his suspicions that a judge might have been bought by Jaime González Gutiérrez, who was accused of killing a policeman in San Luis.

After it was published, the judge jailed Benjamín for defamation.

Today, Jaime González Gutiérrez is in jail, accused of ordering the murder of our editor in chief.

When Benjamín Flores fell at the door of the newspaper he had founded five years before, we felt like orphans, overwhelmed by a rage that is difficult to describe.

But July 15 the presses did not stop, and each of us reaffirmed our commitment to Benjamín and his mission. I took immediate control and saw how the reporters wet the keyboards with their tears, and, at times, cried out with impotence, pain, and rage at the image of our editor bleeding to death on the floor.

During the five years that Benjamín ran the paper, we received constant death threats. Of course, we were conscious of the risks we had assumed, but it wasn't until July 15 that we really understood that being a journalist is a dangerous profession.

What class of country is this in which impunity is so great that criminals fear a reporter more than a policeman? At moments, it gets frustrating for those of us who practice this profession to denounce corruption and impunity. Journalists who do so are becoming a kind of people's prosecutor, displacing those who are charged with carrying out justice. In the people's name we should continue to denounce prosecutors, police commanders, judges, and magistrates so they all assume their real responsibility.

More than ever, the organizations that defend our profession should create systems of effective protection and, above all, strive to prevent violence.

From our modest newspaper and through our experience, we have come to sadly demand one single thing: That we all do everything in our power to make sure that blood is never spilled at your newspapers, at it was spilled at ours.